A federal judge of the United States Justice Department, Roger W. Titus has approved the forfeiture order in respect of a $700,000 Maryland home belonging to former Bayelsa State governor, Diepreye Alamieyeseigha. Consequently, the house located at The Rockville was taken over by the United States government on Friday.
Prosecutors said the assets of Alamieyeseigha who was Bayelsa governor between 1999 and 2005 were the proceeds of corruption, an allegation the defendant previously denied in court filings.
A federal district judge in Massachusetts had granted a motion for default judgment and civil forfeiture on a $401,931 Massachusetts brokerage fund that allegedly belonged to Alamieyeseigha last year.
The UK has also for years beamed its legal radar on the ex-governor. After he was arrested at Heathrow Airport in 2005, police found about $1.6 million cash in his house. The High Court of Justice in London again found three of Alamieyeseigha’s properties in 2006, as well as accounts held by Santolina and some money traceable to bribes Alamieyeseigha took from contractors in Nigeria.
Back home in Nigeria, the former Bayelsa governor was handed a two-year prison term in 2007 for failing to declare assets worth $8 million in Nigeria, South Africa and the US, equally proceeds of bribes he received as governor. He pleaded guilty to money laundering on behalf of two companies he controlled – Solomon & Peters Ltd. and Alamieyeseigha and Santolina Investment Corp. The forfeited home in Rockville, Maryland is owned by Solomon & Peters Ltd., according to court papers.
In March this year however, President Goodluck Jonathan, who succeeded Alamieyeseigha’s as Bayelsa governor granted him an unconditional pardon, a move many Nigerians condemned.
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